You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mark Hamill on Working With Guillermo del Toro on Animated Series ‘Trollhunters’

Mark Hamill is best known for playing cinema’s ultimate good guy in the “Star Wars” franchise. But as a voice actor, he’s played an impressive array of bad guys, from Batman’s complex arch-enemy the Joker to the comical Gadfly Garnett, the pink-hued thief in Disney Junior series “Miles From Tomorrowland,” and many more in between.

Hamill’s latest villain will be back to cause trouble for Guillermo del Toro’s “Trollhunters,” when Netflix premieres the final season of the animated saga, on Friday. The DreamWorks Animation series follows a teenager who becomes the protector of a race of trolls and other fantastic creatures that live beneath his city. He’s aided in his quest by two friends and trolls Aaarrgghh!!! (Fred Tatasciore) and Blinky, voiced by Kelsey Grammer.

Hamill joined the series in the second season as Dictatious, Blinky’s brother who turned to the dark side to serve the evil Gunmar in his quest to take over the world.

“Kelsey has one of the greatest voices. I wasn’t imitating Kelsey, but I had to sound like his brother,” says Hamill, describing how he created Dictatious’ voice. He talked with the show’s creators and asked them if there was a character actor that would be a good basis for him to build Dictatious on. “They said George Sanders from ‘All About Eve.’ He was Mr. Freeze on the Adam West ‘Batman.’ He’s a wonderful character actor. I’m not really imitating him, but I’m channeling his sort of grandeur.”

Hamill hadn’t seen the first season of “Trollhunters” when he was first approached to play Dictatious, “but the chance to work with Guillermo del Toro was just something I couldn’t resist.” Prior to going in to record his first episode, he got caught up. “I was amazed! It’s such a great show for the whole family,” he says. “The way it effortlessly moves from these fantastical realms to suburbia, it seems so unique to me. It’s the perfect definition of escapist entertainment. With the world being as difficult as it is and the tragedies we see in the news, you need a safe place. That’s why people want to go to Hogwarts or the Land of Oz or Middle Earth or even a Galaxy Far Far Away. It’s just a respite from every day life,” he continues. “This show is just so much fun, not only to watch but to be a part of.”

Hamill got a chance to be a fanboy when del Toro showed up for his first recording session. “I went, ‘Oh my God, you’re Guillermo del Toro!’ He said, ‘I know.’ He’s such a personable and a positive person; just a delight,” Hamill recalls. “Seeing ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and ‘Hellboy’ and all these movies he did, I thought, this guy could be a really complex, twisted, bizarre individual, and to find out he was so far from that was amazing to me.”

Voice acting holds a special place in Hamill’s heart. “One of the reasons I love it so much is that they cast with their ears, not their eyes, so you’re going to be able to do countless roles that you would never get if you were on camera because you’re just physically not right for them,” he explains.

Hamill’s done so many voice roles, that it’s difficult for him to remember them all. “On Twitter people say, ‘I love you in ‘Powerpuff Girls,’ and I say to myself, ‘Wait a minute, did I do the ‘Powerpuff Girls?’’ I’ll have to go to IMDb and check.” With animation, actors may not get to see the final product for up to a year after they’ve recorded their roles. “No one thinks to send you an email to say, ‘Hey, your ‘Fairly Odd Parents’ is on next Thursday.’ I’ve done so many of these that I’ve never seen because I just can’t keep up with them. But I love it.”

He’s a big fan of the voice acting community. “It is one of the most talented groups of people I’ve ever worked with,” he says. “These people are deeply talented actors, character actors, a lot of them from the theater, from stand up, from improv. It’s a tremendous talent pool and they are so welcoming.”

Hamill notes, however, that it can be a solitary profession, where you’re often in a recording booth by yourself. “Thank goodness there are people that can hold me by the hand [during recording]. I’ll do three to five [takes] in a row, always slightly different to give them choices because you’re really sort of providing jigsaw puzzle pieces that they’ll be able to assemble later.”

And he’s amazed by the way the final product comes out, like with “Trollhunters,” where he never recorded with Grammer, but had many scenes with him. “I saw a scene with me and Kelsey last night where I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s like we’re almost overlapping dialogue, like we’re in the same room.’”

To Hamill, that solitary part of voice acting is a blessing and a curse. “Like a musician, a lot of times you play off the other musicians, their rhythm, their intensity, their delivery, and it influences how you would respond. But it’s hard to complain when you see the finished product and it seems indistinguishable from the episodes where you work with the cast.”

“Trollhunters” wraps up with part three, but del Toro, Netflix, and DWA have more “Tales of Arcadia” in store for viewers with interconnected series “3 Below,” coming later this year, and “Wizards,” in 2019. And depending on how the final season of “Trollhunters” plays out, we may see more of Hamill’s Dictatious.

“I would love that,” says Hamill. “You can become so attached to these characters. I’ve had characters I’ve played that when it comes to an end, it’s like losing a family pet; you never stop missing them. But that’s the way of life for an actor: The play closes, the TV show gets canceled, the movie wraps.”

More TV


    TV Review: Ava DuVernay's 'When They See Us'

    Television, lately, has had a particular fixation on the closed-ended crime story — narrative limited series that follow famous cases, using familiar figures to fulfill our desire for catharsis through justice. That makes “When They See Us,” Ava DuVernay’s new limited series about the 1989 “Central Park Five” incident and its legal repercussions, part of [...]

  • Lauren-Dolgen-Paramount-Network

    Paramount Network Poaches Lauren Dolgen From BuzzFeed

    Lauren Dolgen, after spending a year heading up BuzzFeed Studios, is coming back to cable TV. Paramount Network recruited Dolgen as senior VP, unscripted development and production. It’s a return to Viacom for the veteran TV producer, who in her nearly two decades at MTV created such franchises as “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant.” [...]

  • 'Black Mirror' Season 5: Miley Cyrus

    'Black Mirror' Season 5 Episode Trailers Show Miley Cyrus as a Pop Star in Trouble (Watch)

    Netflix released three new trailers Tuesday for the fifth season of “Black Mirror.” Each trailer corresponded to a new episode of Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones’ futuristic anthology series that comments on the state of technology and its role in human connection. In “Striking Vipers,” Anthony Mackie and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II star as estranged college [...]

  • James Corden and Reggie Watts behind

    'The Late Late Show With James Corden' to Return to London for Third Year

    “The Late Late Show With James Corden” will return to London for a third year of specials from the host’s home city, broadcaster CBS announced Tuesday. The show will once again broadcast four special episodes from London’s historic Central Hall Westminster from June 17-20. Corden has already lined up an impressive roster of celebrity guests [...]

  • Bob Newhart Tim Conway Remembered

    Bob Newhart Remembers Tim Conway's Fearless Sense of Humor

    This is for Tim. This is so everybody will remember him. I can tell just by the mail I’ve gotten in the last couple of days that he had a huge fan base that loved him, and they wrote me because they knew I was close to him. Tim grew up in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, [...]

  • RITA FERRO Disney Upfront 2019

    Broadcast Takes a Back Seat at the 2019 Upfronts

    This may be remembered as TV’s gap year — a transitional period between the way things used to be and the way they’re going to be. That was clearly evident last week at the network upfront presentations, the annual event where execs tout their new wares to advertisers. There was something different about this year’s [...]

  • Netflix Begins Production on Part-Yiddish Series

    Netflix Begins Production on Part-Yiddish Series 'Unorthodox'

    Netflix has announced the start of production on its Yiddish- and English-language German series “Unorthodox,” which is shooting in Berlin. The streaming giant is partnering with “Deutschland 83” creator Anna Winger on the original four-part miniseries which will be directed by “Deutschland 83” and “Deutschland 86” star Maria Schrader. Based on a novel by Deborah [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content